Understanding the average consumer in Nigeria can be a difficult task for the manager of a multinational company because it’s hard to pinpoint who is an “average Nigerian”. In a country of 186 million inhabitants and one of the most culturally diverse pools of citizens, finding an underlying value that rings true amongst all Nigerians is a challenge.
However, in spite of the many cultural and socioeconomic variations within the country, there are certain things that are very relevant to a business manager in regards to how Nigerians make purchasing decisions. Understanding the logic behind those purchasing decisions will help you build an effective strategy for your business, as you attempt to target your ideal consumer in the Nigerian market.
Highlighted below are explanations of the many factors that affect the purchasing decisions of the average consumer in Nigeria.
Nigerians are particularly price-sensitive, especially when buying food. A little less than half of Nigerians claim to be very careful with how they spend their money. They are also willing to spend more time and energy searching for discount products to ensure that they purchase the items they need at the lowest rate possible.
Regional differences are also important to note when it comes to price-sensitivity in Nigeria, as citizens residing in Lagos tend to be more price conscious in comparison to those residing in the cities of Abuja and Kano.
The average consumer in Nigeria is extremely loyal to their preferred brands. Lower-income consumers tend to maintain brand loyalty due to an unwillingness to try new things, whereas higher income consumers equate well-known brands with delivering higher quality goods.
With that said, when it comes to the retail market, most Nigerians tend to view clothing created and sold by local brands to be just as fashionable, comfortable, and high-quality as international brands. In fact, only 11 percent of Nigerians believe that international brands are more fashionable than local brands, in comparison to 29 percent of consumers in Africa as a whole.
Optimism and Resilience
The average consumer in Nigeria believes that they will be financially better off in the future. This optimistic viewpoint speaks to the growing economic strength of Nigeria, as the country has moved out of its most recent recession and has a thriving GDP. The economic growth of the region is subsequently widening opportunities to grow one’s personal wealth and, as a result, Nigeria’s middle class continues to expand.
Alongside the economic growth of the Nigerian people are other factors that speak to the reason behind the citizens’ optimism, as most Nigerians feel positive about Nigeria’s future. Other determinants, such as nearly every member of the middle class in Nigeria having one or more people in their household employed at part-time or full-time positions, also contribute to the positive outlook on Nigeria’s future.
Media and Digital Savvy
Media habits of the average consumer in Nigeria are definitely evolving. Currently, television reigns supreme, as 98 percent of Nigerians claim to have watched television within a previous week. Nearly just as many Nigerians claim that they use TV to receive information about different brands and that they trust the information they obtain through this medium.
Digital media outlets are also rapidly growing as almost half of Nigeria’s population has stated that they have accessed the Internet at least once within the last month – 46.5% of Nigerians have access to the internet. The average Nigerian uses the internet to engage on social networking platforms.
Consumer habits vary widely depending on the region of Nigeria that your company is operating within. Major urban hubs, such as Lagos and Abuja, have more modern retail shops. While Nigerians based in rural areas, as well as urban areas, rely more on the informal retail markets, such as kiosks and open-air markets, to do the bulk of their shopping.
It’s also important to be aware of the fact that Nigerians residing in urban areas make up the high and middle consumption segments. This means that those living in Nigeria’s cities are more likely to have disposable income that they are willing to spend on items and activities outside of basic necessities.
Open-Air Markets & Face-to-Face Retail
Although the majority of Nigerians still shop in open-air markets, there are definitely opportunities for businesses that wish to enter the Nigerian market by offering a more formal retail experience. Large retailers, such as Game (owned by Wal-Mart subsidiary, Massmart) and Shoprite have seen positive results after opening stores in Nigeria.
Nigerian consumers still want to “touch and feel” their products before purchase, hence the importance of a face-to-face retail experience that is still very cash-based. Therefore, for foreign companies looking to enter the Nigerian market, offering flexible payment schedules with in-person sales and financing options for consumers might prove to be an effective method of attracting and retaining clientele.
A lot of cultures in Nigeria are very status-driven, in that an individual’s success is measured in comparison to their social standing within their respective community. Therefore, the average consumer in Nigeria will make purchasing decisions that reflect their current or aspirational status in Nigerian society.
The Value of an Enemy
Many international companies operating in Nigeria have successfully played into the “hero’s journey” to sell their products. The “hero’s journey” has become a marketing concept that has played into a narrative, globally, that gives the audience a hero to root for and a villain to root against.
In Nigeria, this concept is taken a little more seriously due to the level of cultural and religious activities, as well as the presence of a higher level of superstition. Many Nigerians view themselves as the hero of their own story and are actively trying to prove their “enemy” wrong by succeeding in their chosen endeavor. For many companies, this consumer mindset provides them with marketing opportunities to position the purchasing of their product as another way for their target consumer to “win” against those who doubted that they could achieve success.
Return to the Village
The average Nigerian maintains a strong desire to help their village or community. It is this mindset that keeps their success and obligations tied to the community from which they came.
The reason behind this mindset is that those within one’s community helped them achieve success by teaching them certain skills or providing them with resources that ultimately helped them reach their goal(s). The saying “it takes a village to raise a child” is an adage that resonates around African cultures – not only Nigerian cultures. Therefore, it is imperative that once a Nigerian attains some level of success, that they do their part to help those in their community achieve their goals in return.
Now that you have a better understanding of the many factors that affect the purchasing decisions Nigerians make, try to use the information presented here to build an effective strategy for your business that provides goods and services of tangible value to Nigerians. Doing so will help you, a new entrant, create and capture values as you target your ideal consumer in the Nigerian market.